A timely article from Joe Forbes in this months Albemarle Tradewinds Magazine


Far more people get into trouble over having a concealed weapon when they interact with a law-enforcement officer than they do actually using the weapon. Please take a few minutes to refresh your understanding of the laws and avoid trouble.

NCGS 14-269 states that it is unlawful to "carry concealed about his or her person" any weapon, etc. while not on their own premises. There are two elements of the offense to be concerned about: Concealed and About The Person. "Concealed" means hidden or not readily discernible from sight. The courts have looked to the intent of the law, which is to protect law enforcement officers, in determining what constitutes "About" your person, and the general consensus is that the weapon must be within easy reach of the concealer, so that it could possibly be used against an unsuspecting officer. A weapon under the front seat of a car is within easy reach of the driver, and is therefore illegal, but one in the trunk is not. 

The problem usually arises in the gray areas. A concealed gun in the back cargo area of a station wagon/SUV is clearly not "about" the person of the driver, but it is within easy reach of a back seat passenger. A pistol jammed between the front seat and the console will usually get the driver charged with violating the law, despite the fact that exactly as much of the gun is showing as it would be if carried openly in a belt holster. The State's argument in that case is always that the officer can see the whole hip holster as the carrier walks down the street, so the presence of a weapon is open and obvious, but not so when looking into a car. The general rule for whether a weapon is "concealed" within a vehicle is whether an officer walking up and looking into the car can readily see it.

The law provides an exception for people possessing a handgun under a valid concealed carry permit as long as the carrier operates within the constraints of the law. You can't carry in a courthouse, or government buildings in general. You can't carry with ANY alcohol or non-prescription controlled drugs in your system. If you are going out to have even a glass of wine with dinner, be safe and lock it in the trunk of your car until you get home.

NCGS 14-415.11 provides that when when you are carrying, and when approached or addressed by a law enforcement officer, you must tell the officer that you have the weapon. Use common sense here. If you have a weapon in your vehicle and you are standing outside 20 feet away, then the law does not require you to mention the weapon. (Depending on the circumstances, it may be a good idea to mention it, but you are not required to.) But if you have to go into the vehicle while the officer is there, such as to retrieve your drivers license, then tell the officer about the presence of the weapon, especially if you have to go near it. 

(It should be stressed that, although it may be legal to carry the weapon in another state under the reciprocity provisions between the states, the other state's laws regarding prohibited places and practices may not be the same as ours. The most common example of this is that some states forbid concealed weapons on any premises where alcohol is served, regardless of whether the carrier is drinking. When in doubt, don't do it.)

When talking to the officer, keep both hands where they can be seen. Tell the officer where the weapon is, but don't reach for it. Tell him you have a permit, but don't reach for it unless instructed to. Remember, it's all about making sure the officer knows you are being forthcoming about the weapon, and that you have no intention of using it against him. You carry the weapon to prevent harm to yourself. All the officer wants out of the encounter is the same thing.

A timely article from Joe Forbes in this months Albemarle Tradewinds Magazine A timely article from Joe Forbes in this months Albemarle Tradewinds Magazine Reviewed by kensunm on 5:17:00 PM Rating: 5

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